Organ trafficking ring busted

Gang admits to 80 illegal transplants, including 15 foreigners.

LAHORE: In an on-going crackdown against suspects involved in human organs trafficking, FIA Lahore Zone apprehended an international gang engaged in the illegal sale and transplantation of human organs.

The agency has arrested three operatives, with ongoing raids aimed at nabbing the remaining members of the group.

The accused have confessed to orchestrating the illegal transplant of 80 individuals, including 15 foreigners.

The clandestine activities of the gang primarily revolved around conducting kidney transplant operations in secret locations within slum areas.

Exploiting the vulnerable, the operatives purchased kidneys from simple and impoverished citizens for amounts ranging from Rs300,000 to Rs400,000, only to sell them for exorbitant sums ranging from Rs7 million to Rs8 million.

The joint operation conducted by FIA and Punjab Human Organ Transplant Authority (PHOTA) spanned Lahore, Rawalpindi, and Gujarat, following the directives of Lahore Zone Director Sarfaraz Khan Virk.

Three suspects involved in the illicit transplantation of body parts were successfully arrested during the operation, leading to the registration of a case.

Acting on a complaint from PHOTA Lahore, a dedicated team under the supervision of Deputy Director of Anti-Corruption Circle Lahore, Mian Muhammad Sabir, Stunt Director Nadeem Akhtar, Gul Shahnaz, Inspector Shahzeb, Sub-Inspector Muhammad Imtiaz Niazi, and others, collaborated with PHOTA Deputy Director Vigilance Adnan Bhatti and his team. Notable arrests included nephrologist Dr Shehbaz Malik from Gujarat, notorious agent Shahzad, and private lab attendant Abrar Hussain from Rawalpindi.

Dr Shahbaz Malik allegedly demanded Rs4 million from a patient’s family for kidney transplantation, with subsequent transactions involving Rs500,000 transactions through agents in Lahore and Rawalpindi.

The investigation has exposed the modus operandi, revealing that agents provided kidney donors to Shehzad for Rs10,000 to Rs30,000, while the same kidneys were sold to patients for Rs4 million to Rs8 million.

Addressing the media in a joint press conference, FIA Lahore Zone Director Sarfraz Khan Virk emphasized the agency’s skilful and diligent efforts in apprehending three members of the international gang. He assured that action is underway to arrest the remaining accused and their facilitators.

Punjab Provincial Health Minister Dr Javed Akram condemned the perpetrators of this heinous crime, expressing shame for their actions against the country and humanity. Dr Akram highlighted the urgency of legislative amendments in organ transplant laws, with recommendations already submitted to the cabinet.

These proposed changes aim to make the state the plaintiff in such cases, allowing for the punishment of accused individuals with fourteen years of imprisonment and hefty fines in the range of millions of rupees.

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